KAL Prestige Class Lounge, ICN

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01. Introduction: To Taipei with Star Alliance and SkyTeam business class awards
02. United Airlines 737-900/ER first class San Diego to Los Angeles
03. Asiana A380-800 business class Los Angeles to Seoul
04. Incheon Transit Hotel
05. Eva Air A321 regional business class Seoul to Taipei
06. Grand Hyatt Taipei
07. The quiet serenity of Taipei during Chinese New Year
08. China Airlines Dynasty Lounge, TPE, Terminal 1
09. China Airlines 777-300/ER business class Taipei to Seoul
10. KAL Prestige Class Lounge, ICN
11. Korean Air A380-800 Prestige Class (business class) Seoul to Los Angeles
12. Delta Connection CRJ-700 first class Los Angeles to San Diego

Now we are getting into the portion of the trip that I was personally looking forward to the most. After years of trying to find ways to book an award ticket on Korean Air that worked within my schedule (it’s not easy using Delta SkyMiles), today was the day. To be honest I’m not really sure what has attracted me to Korean Air over the last few years – but my multiple flights on that “other” Korean airline has only added fuel to the fire thanks to the realization that Korean airlines are just as good (if not better) than their Japanese counterparts. That’s a pretty hefty compliment by the way.

The proper way to begin any long haul Korean Air flight out of ICN is to take some time to relax – and eat – in the KAL Prestige Class Lounge, which is located right in the heart of the main terminal (not too far from the Incheon Transit Hotel actually). It’s not hard to find, and I actually stumbled across it as I was trying to find a map to find out where this lounge is located. I love it when things fall into place like that…

KAL business class lounge entrance ICN

Main entrance to the Korean Air Prestige Class lounge here at ICN.

KAL business class lounge entrance ICN

The lounge is located on the upper level, so there are escalators (or an elevator) to traverse.

KAL Prestige Class Lounge sign

KAL Prestige Class Lounge signage.

korean air A380 model

Pretty cool large-scale model of a Korean Air A380 in the main lobby! Where can I get one of these?

korean air lounge showers ICN

There are showers available in this lounge if you feel the need to freshen up before your flight.

KAL lounge entrance

Obligatory magazine and newspaper rack right at the main entrance.

korean air business class lounge ICN

It’s like a theater in here! This is a very large lounge, and what you see in this pic is only half of it.

korean air business class lounge ICN

I really liked how large the windows are – natural light is always best.

Of all the airline lounges I’ve visited over the years, the KAL Prestige Class Lounge is one of the largest. It’s split into two main rooms, divided in the middle by the entrance hall (for lack of a better word). After checking in at the front desk, it’s up to you whether you want to go left or right. As a first time visitor to this lounge, it was a bit confusing to me since I didn’t really know which was the better direction to go. Since I had a lot of time before my connecting flight to LAX, I figured I’d go right and take my time working my way left to experience the entire space.

Unfortunately, the side I chose contained the smoking lounge. While it is separated from the rest of the lounge in an enclosed space, the stench of cigarette smoke is strong on this side and right away I was thinking of making a beeline over to the other side to see if it was any better. But then I caught a glimpse of the food on display, and all thoughts of cigarette smoke were vaporized (ha!) and I grabbed a plate to start loading up a pre-flight snack.

korean air business class lounge ICN

Walking further into the lounge, and I see some food, straight ahead to the left…

Korean Air Prestige Class Lounge food

Korean Air Prestige Class Lounge food: some cold pastas and salads on display.

Korean Air Prestige Class Lounge food

Korean Air Prestige Class Lounge food: room temperature snacks were on the bar in the foreground, with hot items (such as soups and pizza) along the back wall.

Korean Air Prestige Class Lounge self-serve drink bar

Korean Air Prestige Class Lounge self-serve drink bar. Lots of coffee, juices, and alcohol, but surprisingly enough water was hard to find.

korean air lounge snacks ICN

There are also a variety of snack stations located around the lounge, such as this cup-noodle display.

korean air business class lounge coffee

Coffee is in abundance in here. This is one of several coffee stations I saw.

korean air business class lounge dining

I kept things light with a bowl of pumpkin soup, a small slice of pizza, and some rice. Check out that view though!

There were a variety of interesting food choices, but nothing I’d call amazing. Just for comparisons sake, the Star Alliance Lounge at LAX and the China Airlines business class lounge at TPE offers a better selection of hot food – but this isn’t such a bad thing actually, as I don’t like to eat too much before a long international business class flight. Being hungry while on the airplane makes the in-flight dining experience all that much better!

The design of the KAL Premier Class Lounge is quite good IMHO (except for that smoking lounge which doesn’t contain the smell). The windows are large and offer tons of natural light, and there is plenty of seating available in a variety of styles. There are plush couches, soft chairs, dining tables, rows of theater-type seating, and even some communal dining tables.

korean air business class lounge seating

There is definitely an abundance of seating in this lounge. By the way, that room to the left is the smoking lounge, which probably explains the empty seating all around it.

korean air business class lounge smoking section

Another view of the enclosed smoking section.

Korean Air Prestige Class Lounge

I really liked the fact that most of the seating faced the windows. Very theater-like.

korean air business class lounge views

Having all the seats facing the windows is definitely worth it. The views of the action outside are pretty good!

korean air business class lounge space

Despite the fact that the lounge is basically one large room, there were a lot of these dividers about which helped to dampen noise and enhance privacy.

korean air business class lounge privacy dividers

Looking over the dividers towards the back wall.

korean air business class lounge ICN layout

This view shows how the food is located on the back wall, with the windows towards the front. The main entrance is straight ahead.

korean air business class lounge cubicles ICN

More views as I walk around taking pics.

The business center (with printers, copiers, etc) was a bit small, but nobody was using it anyway so it’s not a big deal.

korean air business class lounge business center

This is part of the enclosed business section, and there are printers and copiers on the other side of that wall.

korean air business class lounge food

Finally, here is the self-serve food section on the other side of the lounge. The layout is a bit different but all the food was the same.

korean air prestige class lounge communal seating

There were slightly different seating options on the other side too.

korean air business class lounge design

But other than those two differences, the rest of this side of the lounge was just the same as the other.

Considering how busy and chaotic the main terminal of ICN can get, I found the KAL Prestige Class Lounge to be a welcome oasis to escape to before a long flight. The only real bit of advice I have for first time visitors to this lounge is that you probably want to stay on the left side if you’re easily irritated by the smell of cigarette smoke. Everything else is the same (food, seating, views, etc) so you won’t be missing out on anything.

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